SEC judge censures "Big 4" China units over audit work papers

WASHINGTON Wed Jan 22, 2014 5:40pm EST

WASHINGTON Jan 22 (Reuters) - An administrative law judge on Wednesday temporarily barred the Chinese units of the "Big Four" accounting firms from practicing before U.S. securities regulators, saying they "willfully" refused to hand over the audit work they did for U.S.-listed Chinese companies.

In a lengthy ruling, Securities and Exchange Commission Judge Cameron Elliot ordered the units of KPMG, Deloitte & Touche, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst and Young to be barred from practicing before the SEC for six months.

The Chinese unit of BDO, another large accounting firm, was censured, but does not face a temporary bar.

The SEC has been trying for years to force the Chinese auditors to share their work papers in connection with numerous fraud investigations into Chinese companies that list on U.S. stock exchanges.

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